March 28, 2013

W. LACROSSE | Red Looks to Bounce Back Against Tigers

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After starting the season off with six straight victories, the Cornell women’s lacrosse team hopes to rebound from two consecutive losses on Saturday against  Princeton. The Red will take on the Tigers (5-3, 2-0 Ivy League) at Schoellkopf Field at 3 p.m. tomorrow. The Red (6-2, 2-1) enters the match ranked No. 11 nationally and is undefeated in home contests this season. While Princeton leads the overall series with the Red 30-4, the most recent contests have been in Cornell’s favor, with the Red winning two of the last three meetings — including last year’s 13-12 overtime victory.

The Red is led by an explosive offensive attack that ranks No. 10 nationally in scoring offense. Among Ancient Eight teams, the Red is at the top of points scored, scoring offense and scoring margin.

Leading the offense is sophomore attack Lindsay Toppe, whose 39 points on 30 goals and nine assists places her in the Top-25 point scorers nationally. Senior captain Caroline Salisbury adds 25 points with 20 goals and five assists, while junior Amanda D’Amico’s 21 goals and three assists give her 24 points on the season.

Bolstering the Red’s defense is senior captain Kate Ivory, who forces an average of 2.25 turnovers a game — which is No. 9 in the country. Ivory also averages 3.25 ground balls per game, putting her at No. 10 in the nation in that statistical category.

Princeton heads to Ithaca looking for its first road win of the season after losing its first three road games this season. The Tigers fell to No. 9 Georgetown, No. 10 Virginia and No. 20 Rutgers during that stretch.

For the Tigers, sophomore attack Erin McMunn leads the offense. The 2012 Ivy League Rookie of the year has 36 points on 21 goals and 15 assists this season. Rounding off Princeton’s attack are freshman Alexandra Bruno and junior Sarah Lloyd, who have 17 total points on the season respectively. The Tigers are third in the Ivy league in points and scoring offense. Defensively they average the second most caused turnovers in the Ivy League and rank No. 8 nationally in that category.

According to Salisbury, the Red is going to have to focus on shutting down every aspect of Princeton’s attack in order to win Saturday’s contest.

“The biggest challenge Princeton poses is that they have a pretty balanced offense, so it’s not like our team can just shut down one player,” she said. “We are going to have to focus on playing good team defense and supporting each other.”

Despite the recent losses, the team is optimistic about its play recently, but knows that it has not always been at its best.

“The last few games we’ve had moments of really great lacrosse, but also moments where we haven’t performed up to our potential,” Salisbury said.

One of the key focuses Saturday for the Red is to put together a complete game, as its slow start in the Penn game put the team at a disadvantage early, eventually forcing a one-goal loss.

“The most important thing that our team needs to do in order to beat Princeton is to play a full 60 minutes. Against Penn and other teams, we have been slow from the start. Princeton is a respectable team and we must play a full 60 minutes to compete with them and win,” Toppe said.

The Red has had five days to prepare for Princeton and has focused on practicing with high intensity, while paying close attention to details in order to provide the best chance to get back to the success of its first six games.

Toppe is optimistic about the Red’s preparedness for the game, knowing that if her team can translate its focus in practice to Saturday’s game, it has a good chance to put together a solid outing.

“I expect us to be a strong contender against Princeton. Both our teams are talented teams so it is going to come down to who steps onto the field and not only wants it more, but proves that through hustle and heart,” she said. “We definitely have a chance to beat Princeton if we can transfer our intensity from practice to the game.”

Original Author: Tucker Maggio-Hucek